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China’s soft power 30th March 2008

Mark Leonard (March) is not quite right in dating the invention of “soft power” to America in the 1990s. In fact, the idea of soft power is older by at least two millennia. Confucius is recorded as saying, “if people of far lands do not submit, then the ruler must attract them by enhancing the prestige of his culture.” It was the practice in China during the 2nd century BC for warring factions to try to win over neutrals by displays of culture, such as sending theatrical companies. Leonard’s interviewee Yan Xuetong concludes…

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